involved in the management of safety, I understand the need to balance benefits against risks rather than simply take the safest option, an approach that has given safety a bad name. The articles also made me wonder how the UK compares with other European countries such as France and Italy, where there is a very strong moped culture among teenagers. After spending an evening trawling through websites providing statistics and information on European legislation and crashes, I’m afraid I can’t provide a definitive answer since, almost inevitably, there doesn’t seem to be a consistent approach to gathering and presenting such information. What I can report is that youngsters in France, Italy, Portugal and Greece can ride a moped at 14 while licensing and compulsory training requirements are weak, if they exist at all. The IAM makes the point that a significant number of moped crashes in this country involve untrained and unlicensed riders, particularly in socially deprived areas. I suggest that there will always be reckless and disaffected individuals for whom a driving licence, proper training and insurance are perceived as pointless. It’s too much to expect any amount of compulsory training to have a significant impact on them. In fact, increasing the effort, and the cost, of complying with legal requirements may simply increase the temptation to ride/drive illegally. A robust enforcement strategy involving the Courts and the Police is key. The conclusion that I’ve come to in reading these two articles is that there is a fundamental flaw in the way in which we prepare young people, particularly 16 year-old moped riders, for the road. The approach has been to impose more and more restrictions on the performance of the machines they ride, making them unable to keep up with the flow of traffic, rather than requiring them to receive adequate training before venturing onto the road. A classic case of treating the symptoms rather than the disease, I suggest. The logical conclusion to the current approach is to stop 16 year-olds riding mopeds, but what next? Banning motorcycles altogether? The article in “Advanced Driving” sets out 10 points forming the IAM action plan for the Government on this issue covering things like: The need to review CBT; Making mopeds more conspicuous; Making it more difficult to tamper with the speed limiter; Extending the “Think Bike” campaign and Reviewing the moped riding age. The SAM Observer February 2009
The February 2009 edition of "The SAM Observer"